Mina and Delany: The Mina Edison Connection
March 12, 2017
By Lilly Hart
In February 1886, a year after the passing of his first wife, Thomas Edison married Mina Miller. Mina, who was raised in Akron, Ohio, came from a family that highly valued education, and instilled those values in Mina.
After they married, the couple moved to Fort Myers, Florida where Mina became an active community member. Because of the status of her husband, Mina never received the recognition she deserved for her persistent community work. However, she devoted her life to local, regional, and national activities. After a trip to New York to meet with the Chautauqua Women’s Club, Mina founded her own GFWC club in Fort Myers. The group grew quickly, and Mina invited a close friend from nearby LaBelle, Mrs. B.L. Dulaney, to attend the club meetings. Soon, Mrs. Dulaney had several cars full of women making the trip to attend the meetings. After several packed meetings, Mina approached Mrs. Dulaney and proposed that she start her own group in LaBelle. On February 3, 1930, LaBelle Community Woman’s Club (LCWC) became a reality.
LCWC hit the ground running and housed the first circulating library in 1931. The women planted trees along the major roads, set trash cans on street corners, and encouraged the city to pass ordinances to keep the town free from rubbish. During the Great Depression, the club continued to sponsor libraries, solve school problems, beautify communities, and assist in welfare work. Members devoted their efforts to war related projects during World War II and sewed for the Red Cross, participated in Bundles for Britain, helped with bond sales, and planted victory gardens.
Early special projects of the clubwomen also included forest conservation. The Royal State Park was presented to the United States government in a ceremony on December 6, 1947. At the ceremony, attended by President Harry S Truman, Florida clubwoman Mrs. W. S. Jennings was cited for her foresight in securing the lands, and GFWC Florida was cited for keeping the park open to the public. This park became the Florida Everglades National Park.
Over 119 years since its inception, the members of the GFWC Florida Federation of Women’s Clubs are still committed to identifying the needs of the local community and working to meet those needs through community service projects.
Minnie Bell Johnson
Minnie Bell Johnson is described by her fellow clubwomen as the happiest person they know, with a smile that brightens the whole room. Having just celebrated her 100th birthday, she has many reasons to smile. During her time with the Portland Woman’s Club (Oregon), she has served as both the club treasurer and club president. She’s still an active member to this day, voting on issues and club elections, and participating in projects like handing out personal care products to homeless women at the Rose Haven Women and Children’s Day Shelter.
Success For Survivors Scholarship
Each year, GFWC awards scholarships to help intimate partner abuse survivors obtain a post-secondary education that offers a chance to reshape their future by securing employment and gaining personal independence.
GFWC Marlton Woman’s Club
The GFWC Marlton Woman’s Club (New Jersey) has 41 members who are always trying to put a smile on the faces of others. President Lisa Levin said, “My goal has always been to work together as a club, making our members shine, and making a significant difference in the lives of others.” She also encourages leadership and engagement by motivating members to be a chairperson or to be part of a committee.